Joined: 12 August 2005
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|Posted: 11 June 2006 at 3:41pm | IP Logged
I just finished Hemingway on the China Front(His WWII Spy Mission With Martha Gellhorn).
I enjoyed it. It's probably the best account of his trip to China, that always seemed to get scant coverage in most of the biographies.
Calling it a "spy mission" seems a bit dramatic to me (he was asked by the Treasury Dept. to report back to them, apparently), but then I haven't read the sources cited for this assertion.
I've always thought that Martha Gellhorn was Hemingway's most interesting wife, and I've read some biography on her. She was a very talented writer (fiction and non-fiction), and probably a better journalist than EH. No wonder they collided!
Gellhorn wanted the trip, and Hemingway finally went along with it, somewhat reluctantly at first. Once there, though, she hated the country and the deprivations, while Hemingway seemed more in his element and maintained good humor despite some hardships.
Theirs was a relationship that could never endure. They were too much alike. After the war, when they divorced, Gellhorn painted a pretty negative picture of Hemingway whenever she had the chance. But as the biographies on her show, she too could be a very difficult women (some would say bitchy), and this only got worse as she aged. Sound like anyway we know?
Unlike Hemingway(despite the myths), Gellhorn was fairly promiscuous for the time, and had had several affairs (and abortions) both before and after her marriages. She later adopted a son, Sandy, who by most accounts she was quite neglectful of. Flawed, like EH, but still a fascinating women.